When it comes to makeup, sadly nothing lasts forever. And while it’s really hard to part with your favourite lipstick or foundation before it’s finished, sticking with it could mean breakouts or eye infections caused by bacteria.
One way to tell when it’s safe to use your products until: Look for an icon that resembles an open pot stamped with an “M” (month) or “Y” (year), followed by a number. This stands for the product’s shelf life.
If, for example, it says “6M”, that means you can use the product for six months after opening it. Tip: Label your products with your first date of use, so you know when it’s time to toss them.
Can’t find the icon? Follow these general rules.
Shelf life: 3 months
Toss when: It becomes clumpy or develops a weird smell.
Though you have to throw this out fairly frequently, it’s still important to clean your wand in between uses. That’s because the regular use of the wand amasses bacteria that can cause eye irritation and conjunctivitis.
To clean: Wipe the bristles with a paper towel before soaking the whole wand for a good five minutes in warm water to dislodge all formula. Dry with a paper towel and give it a good clean with alcohol wipes before putting it back into the tube.
Shelf life: 1 year
Toss when: The colour of the base has lightened or the formula has separated into layers.
To help your foundations last longer, store them away from UV rays in a cool and dry place. If you apply yours with brushes or sponges, be sure to wash those regularly to keep them bacteria-free – your complexion will thank you later.
Shelf life: 2 years
Toss when: A white film forms on the tip of your pencil and can’t be removed.
Because pencil eyeliners require frequent sharpening, any bacteria that forms on the tip is regularly removed. That’s why pencil eyeliners last longer than liquid or gel pots.
Shelf life: 1 year
Toss when: It gets too hard and doesn’t spread easily, or is sticky or starts to smell funny.
It’s important to clean your lipsticks every now and then with an alcohol wipe. After all, your lippies are always exposed to the mouth area – think of all that bacteria that’s left over after meals or when you’re sick, gross.
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